from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. (noun) An attack that uses a list of words (from a dictionary) to guess passwords or decryption keys.
The Brute Force Attack. The Dictionary Attack. The Brute Force-Mask Attack. Computer security experts call them 'attack methods.' They're schemes used in programs that crack passwords.
During a dictionary attack, a single domain is bombarded with emails using a huge number of names as potential email addresses, so that hopefully at least one or two will reach genuine addresses.
A teenage hacker, known in the digital underground as GMZ, claims he obtained access to the micro-blogging site’s admin controls using a brute force dictionary attack. After guessing the login identity of an administrator, in part based on the large number of people she followed, GMZ ran an automated password guessing program overnight to reveal that 'Crystal' used the eminently guessable password of ‘happiness’.
This term seems to have originated in the late 1980s.